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Breast cancer in HIV women?
May 18, 2001

Has HIV been associated with more cases of breast cancer in women? I am HIV positive, my mother had breast cancer and I wonder if because my status I have more chances, even though none of my grandmothers had. Thank you

Response from Dr. Dezube

You ask a very important question. In general HIV+ patients are more prone to cancers such as lymphoma, Kaposi's sarcoma, Hodgkin's disease, anal cancer, cervical cancer, and a few others. A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrated that in terms of breast cancer, HIV'ers have a DECREASED chance of getting this cancer. My colleagues and I at my institution have also looked into this breast cancer/HIV issue by searching patient records via the computer. We too found a DECREASED probability of female HIV'ers developing breast cancer, when compared to females who are HIV negative. Nevertheless, you should get a mammogram at the same frequency as would be recommended to you if you were not HIV positive, and please don't forget to get a cervical PAP smear. BD.

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